All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Friday, September 4, 2015

rigatoni with crunchy breadcrumbs, garlic, and cherry tomatoes

I do love this season of ripe tomatoes of every color and shape, but realize I prefer them as accents, rather than a thick tomato-y sauce.  A few thick pieces of perfect tomatoes on bread with Hellmann's mayonnaise and fresh pepper sums up summer to me.   

Looking at the bounty on the kitchen counter and wondering what to make for dinner, I suddenly remembered that kale salad I made a while ago, especially those crunchy breadcrumbs tossed with garlic and kale.  I ate quite a few spoonfuls of those breadcrumbs each time I made the salad.  So why not go whole hog?  

I increased the recipe for breadcrumbs, tossed in more garlic, and sauteed until they were dark golden brown, then layered them with rigatoni and blistered cherry tomatoes, cooked until they were just bursting, then topped with more crunchy crumbs and a shower of dried basil, simply because it's more assertive and I was out of homemade pesto.  A quick squeeze of lemon juice and it was perfect.  I did experiment with a few slivers of parmesan, but it didn't seem to belong in this dish, perhaps because of the breadcrumbs?

Rigatoni with crunchy breadcrumbs, garlic, and cherry tomatoes
Serves two

For the crumbs:
3 slices whole grain bread, toasted, cooled, and crumbed in a food processor 
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/3 cup olive oil (I use California)
1 pinch kosher salt

Heat the oil and garlic cloves in a skillet, then add the breadcrumbs.  Stir constantly with a spoon until the crumbs are golden brown.  Sprinkle with salt, then scrape into a bowl to cool.

For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Melt butter in skillet, then add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat until very soft. Set aside to cool.

For the pasta:

1/2 box good rigatoni pasta (8 ounces), cooked in salted water

Optional:  1 or 2 tablespoons pesto (for the bottom of the bowls)
                 2 tablespoons sliced scallions (for garnish)
                 2 wedges fresh lemon 

Set out two or medium pasta bowls.
Drizzle bottoms of bowls with a little pesto or basil oil (optional) .
Place half the pasta in the two bowls, and sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs.
Divide the tomatoes between the bowls and add the scallions.
Top with the rest of the breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle with dried basil and freshly cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and serve at room temperature.  Fabulous!

I walk by my neighbor's house at the end of the lane, inspecting the tiny pears and rosy crabapples, every morning , and admiring the huge showy flowers, white, and bright pink , next to the sidewalk. Do you know what they are?  I keep forgetting to ask her.  

Happy beautiful September!


La Table De Nana said...

They are perennial dinner plate hibiscus:)In my also they are in bloom right now..from fuschia to pink..etc..I had 2 plants for about 3 yrs and one even harsher than harsh winter they went away..I covet every single one I spot driving along shore road these days..

YUM..I love your dinner..
I have a plethora of tomatoes..having even picked some at my daughter's today too:)

So this morning before we left I made that no bake tomato...sauce..too many tomatoes for you:)
you know w/ the evoo and capers and garlic and kalamatas..

But I add basil garlic breadcrumbs..we think alike..I can eat by the spoonful too:)

she's in the kitchen said...

Oh, THANK YOU, Nana! I could not for the life of me remember "hibiscus" - it's been a long time since I've seen one. And thank you for reminding me about your tomato recipe - which I was longing to make and then forgot. Every once in a while I indulge with a big sloppy plate of tomatoy pasta, with lots of parm - and enjoy every bite. Capers and olives are some of my favorite things!

Stay cool - it is very hot here for the second day in a row - before that it's been refreshing and just right.